For me Happy Hour can happen any day of the week, though more often than not it’s the weekend when I can really kick back and enjoy a cocktail (or two) since I usually don’t get out of work in time during the week to take advantage of Happy Hour. And since the Rio Olympics has been dominating my television viewing of late this week, my drink of choice has been the caipirinha. Yes, I finally got into the spirit of the games, but then who wouldn’t given the stellar performances in women’s gymnastics and all-around swimming.
Hey, when you’ve got a big bottle of cachaca and a bag of limes laying around just begging to be used…well, what can I say? To keep things interesting, I’ve come up with another inspired variation on the classic Brazilian cocktail–Guava-Raspberry Caipirinha. I got the idea to use guava in the cocktail from the quintessentially Brazilian specialty, guava paste. Adding a few ounces of guava nectar or puree and some fresh or frozen raspberries to the cachaca and muddled lime gives the drink a gorgeous blush of pink and delicately sweet tropical note.
- 2 oz. Cachaca
- 1/2 lime, cut into quarters
- 2 tsp. turbinado or raw sugar
- 2 oz. guava nectar or puree
- 4-5 fresh or frozen raspberries
- chilled soda water
- slice of lime for garnish
Place the sugar and lime pieces at the bottom of a highball glass and muddle together to release the essential oils. Add the Cachaca and guava, along with 4-5 ice cubes and the raspberries. Top off with soda water and garnish with a slice of lime.
Happy Hour without food is just a cocktail–and pretzels don’t count. I want something a little more substantial to nosh on with my drink…an hors d’oeuvre perhaps…something like a Mini Toad in the Hole. Now there many interpretations of “Toad in the Hole.” It can be a breakfast dish where you cut a hole in the center of a thick slice of bread, crack in an egg and fry it up.
The British version of Toad in the Hole is cooked sausages baked in Yorkshire pudding, served with gravy, which is the springboard for my hors d’oeuvres. Instead of serving it with gravy, I top my mini toads with a little balsamic caramelized onion, horseradish sour cream, and fresh chopped parsley. It’s a mouthful of savory deliciousness that is perfect for soaking up all those Happy Hour cocktails!
Mini Toad in the Hole
Yield: about 30
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp. butter, melted
- 1 Tbsp. rendered bacon fat, melted
- 1/2 tsp. sea or kosher salt
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
- 2 links smoked sausage (chicken apple, chorizo, etc.)
- 1/4 cup grated white cheddar or gruyere cheese
- olive or canola oil for mini muffin molds
- 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
- 3 Tbsp. sour cream or Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp. horseradish creme
- 1 tsp. chopped parsley
Process eggs and milk in a blender until smooth. Whisk together the flour, salt, thyme, and peppers, then add to the blender and process until smooth. Blend in half of the melted butter and rendered bacon fat. Transfer the popover batter into a measuring cup or pitcher and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 425°F before baking.